At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we are committed, passionate and driven to ensure that all children become proficient readers, quickly. We aim to develop pupils’ reading through progressive phonics teaching, guided reading, home reading and reading strategy teaching, so that children will learn to read widely, fluently, accurately, frequently and with good understanding and pleasure. 

The aims of our Phonics approach are to: 

  • Ensure all pupils make speedy progress in phonics and reading, through a high-quality systematic and synthetic phonics programme and that it is followed with rigour and fidelity 
  • Ensure the pace of the phonics programme is maintained so that children become fluent, independent readers by the end of Year 1 
  • Ensure children’s reading books show a cumulative progression in phonics knowledge that match the grapheme-phoneme correspondences they know and plenty of opportunities are given to practise in order to support decoding skills. 


    Our Principles: 

    We ensure there is a consistent and engaging approach to our phonics, following the validated Essential Letters and Sounds SSP. We believe every child should leave The Simpson’s Lane Academy with the skills of a confident, fluent and efficient reader and writer.  High-quality Phonics sessions are taught as a whole class approach for between 20 and 45 minutes a day (dependant on the age of the children) following the key principle of ‘Keep Up not Catch Up’. The lesson follows a 5 part structure: revisit/review, teach, practise, apply and review. Any gaps in knowledge are carefully tracked through rigorous assessment using Phonics Tracker and monitoring and gaps are addressed through additional support (extra to whole class phonics sessions) from the start of the year, in order for children to ‘keep up’ with their peers. 
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National Phonic Screening Check:

All children in Year 1 will be screened using the National Assessment materials in the Summer term. If a child in Year 1 does not reach the required level then additional support will be put in place in order for the child to make accelerated progress with their reading. They will be retested when they are in Year 2. This data will be submitted to the Local Authority.

What order are the sounds taught in?

New sounds are taught each day, with some review days and weeks to help children practise what they’ve learned. Click below to reveal the sounds your child will learn in ELS.

How should the sounds be pronounced?

Children learn to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sounds they represent. Pronounce the sounds as you would say them within a word. Make sure you don’t add ‘uh’ onto the end, so for ‘m’ say ‘mm’ not ‘muh’ and for ‘l’ say ‘ull’ not ‘luh’. The below video gives you all 44 sounds in English.

Early Reading Books

We follow the ‘Oxford Owl’ reading book scheme. These books are fully decodable and are aligned to Essential Letters and Sounds. Teachers carefully allocate reading books using phonic assessments, ensuring that children only read books with graphemes that they already know. 

How can I help at home?

Practising the sounds

  • You can help your child practise the sounds they have been learning at school. Download the charts linked above so you can see the list of sounds in the order they’ll be taught. You can show these to your child along with the picture to help them remember.


  • After children learn to read some sounds separately, they can start blending them together to form simple words. Take a look at the video below for ideas on how you can practise word blending with your child. 

Reading decodable books

  • Your child will bring home reading books that match their current phonological awareness. You may hear these reading books called ‘decodable books’. Use the prompts inside the front and back covers to enjoy the book together and help your child practise reading.

Other useful information for parents

If you would like more information about our Phonics scheme you can visit: Essential Letters and Sounds – Oxford Owl

Launchpad for Literacy

In our academy, we use Launchpad for Literacy to help develop specific speech and language, social communication, visual and fine motor skills which are essential for literacy acquisition. It helps to identify what literacy skills children have and what they need. Throughout the academy, vulnerable children are identified that may need additional intervention put in place to help develop their literacy skills. 

Launchpad for Literacy is all about children, the skills they have and the skills they need for all aspects of literacy. It is a systematic, skill-based approach, enabling you to:

  • improve outcomes in the Early Years and beyond by creating firm foundations and a broad base of readiness, addressing whole school attainment issues from the ‘bottom-up.’
  • identify and close specific skill gaps with individuals and vulnerable groups, assessing, tracking and quantifying the process of closing the gap.
  • identify speech, language and other developmental needs as soon as possible and to embed specific skill-based intervention into practice and ‘Quality First Teaching.’
  • have a greater level of diagnostic capability, establishing reasons and solutions to underpin informed interventions when literacy acquisition is problematic.

For more information about Launchpad for Literacy visit: